The national unemployment rate is 8 and a half percent. In the Tar Heel state the average is more than 10 percent. In our area only, New Hanover County is below the state numbers. That has not stopped people from coming to our area. In January, New Hanover County's labor force increased. Tyshaun Perryman is one of the new area residents looking for a job, but he is already putting in plenty of hours. “Filling out applications and following up on prospects, networking, talking to people and seeing if they know a friend that knows a friend that knows a friend,” Perryman said. Southeastern North Carolina is not alone in its struggles with the numbing statistics. Of the Tar Heel states 100 counties, 72 of them have an unemployment rate above 10 percent, and no county in the state has an unemployment rate below five percent. “We have companies closing on March 31st and there are people from at least 4 or 5 different counties working there. So they are going back to their counties and affecting the unemployment rate in those areas,” said New Hanover County ESC manager, Walker Biggs. Perryman said he is in it for the long hall and won't be scared by the numbers. “I know that the economy's bad, but I also believe that as an individual I have to really get out there and grind it out and eventually, I'll get some results.” If there is any good news in all of this it's this: January is typically the worst unemployment month for counties in our area. Biggs said for that reason he expects the unemployment rate to plateau or decrease in the coming months.
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